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Special words by Jerry Aurum, Indonesian Photographer for Wonder Eyes Photo Exhibition - the photos taken by the children of Indonesia - in Jakarta in February 2010, the year of Tiger. Thank you !

special words by Jerry Aurum

to the Wonder Eyes Photo Exhibition in Jakarta, February, 2010

Wondering Eyes, Wonderful Eyes

By Jerry Aurum

Our eyes are our windows to the world, where we connect our souls to the world. We may see a lot, but the visuals we capture don’t really give meanings if we don’t identify them in our minds and hearts. As we grow, our understanding about life are more crystallized, more matured. This maturity becomes our basic pattern in thinking, acting and reacting, influenced by our personal experiences.

Is there anything wrong with that? It’s hard to say, but we must have surely forgotten so many interesting perspectives during our childhoods. What interested us? What made us alive? What made us dreaming? What beauties made us stunned in awe?

What if we have a chance to see things that we used to see as a child, once again after so many years? Can we guess, what would we remember (start wondering)? Would it be as beautiful, or ugly, as we think now (is it wonderful)?

These questions might be what triggered Hikaru Nagatake’s to initiate Wonder Eyes. As a senior photographer, she has been working in many countries across the continents, from Amazon to corners in Asia. Her exploration and aesthetic eyes have made her as one of the respected international photographer.

Hikaru founded Wonder Eyes almost ten years ago when she was covering an assignment in East Timor. Hikaru realized how all the children could still have so much fun, even though tragic conflicts surrounded them every day. It triggered Hikaru to see more, through the eyes of these children.

In the Wonder Eyes program, Hikaru visited remote villages in the world, including Bukit Barisan Selatan in Lampung, Sumatera and Tessonilo village in Riau. She brought a lot of digital and instant pocket cameras and gave them to the children. The children then had to shoot whatever they interested them with the cameras, be it on the spot or back home, and submitted the results on the same day or the day after. Not only that, they also had the chance to see their photos printed, magically appeared on the photo paper.

What do we find in Wonder Eyes? Honesty, naiveness, aesthetic, logic and huge spirit. The quality of content and context of their visualization have really surprised us. Take a look of Nanung Zainuri’s photo work, a portraiture of his father showing off his muscles. Take a look of an image of a kid in the landslide area by Fana Gilang Ramadhan. It’s asymmetrically composed, beautifully.

Take a look of an image of a giant ant walking near a piece of wood by Danang. The composition of the wood and its background give us an understanding of proportion among the objects shown. Compare it with an image of a little girl in her school uniform by Rosiana Desmayanti, also a la portraiture. Or a macro shot of a vibrant red dragonfly in front of bright green background by Lucky.

>From its technical aspects, the collection of images of Wonder Eyes is amazing. But the real beauty lies in the concept behind. The children choose what they want to shoot with their true honesty. No politics, no agenda, just pure appreciation through visualization.

Hikaru has brought out a big, yet very simple idea through Wonder Eyes. She has shown the world the hidden talents of people, especially kids, that usually skipped our attentions. She reminded us of the beauty of our nature that we probably never felt, as we might have ruined it. She made us think, feel and remember our dreams by borrowing the wonderful eyes of these children.

Start wondering, how wonderful life can be? You should.

Jakarta, February 2010.

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